Review of 'Ho-ja'

Ho-ja always was a bit of a mystery to me with it's menu that features items you might expect in a Chinese restaurant yet also having “bento boxes” which are Japanese this is actually a “Taiwanese” restaurant. Taiwan is an island country that claims independence from China and is found off the south-west coast of China. Located on Goldhawk Road very close to Shepherd's Bush (I pass by it regularly on the bus) I decided to give it a try. The unassuming interior containing a small number of simple wooden tables and chairs was not very busy on the Wednesday evening we visited. On entering you grab a menu and have a seat then order at the counter towards the back.

The menu is full of reasonably priced dishes with sections devoted to “bento boxes” (they are not served in boxes but have rice and vegetables included with the featured item), noodles (fried and soup), salad and starters. We decided to try a few things so ordered two starters: “Taro Bun” (£2.25) and “Taiwanese Pancake” (£3.50) which came with our choice of sauce for each (we had the “Ho-ja sauce” which was quite heavily flavoured with soy sauce as well as a “taiwanese hot sauce” which was quite hot as it was just ground up chilli-peppers – there were other options). About 10 minutes after ordering everything our starters arrived at our table.

Sides

The taro bun (“taro” is a root vegetable) was quite good – slightly sweet – though the bun was a bit chewy for us, not light and fluffy as we would normally expect from something like the Chinese steamed dumpling this reminded us of. The pancake was not terribly flavoursome but had a great texture and crunchy going well with the dips.

Beef Bento

For my main I ordered the “Hoja Beef Stew Bento” (£7.50) which had a flavoursome stew with very tender beef. There was a lot of rice with the dish but this allowed me to soak up all of the delicious gravy. The side of cooked cabbage was nothing special nor was the crunchy bit of deep-fried tofu but these did add different textures.

Chicken Katsu Bento

My companion had the “Chicken Katsu Bento” (£7.50) which she indicated was quite tasty but lacked a bit of flavour.

The total of £27.30 included an optional tip which, oddly, we were given a choice of adding on ordering despite not having even seen or tasted the food…

Interior

A relaxed, unpretentious restaurant that serves reasonably priced, decent Taiwanese food within a stone's throw of Shepherd's Bush. We will be back to try some more of the menu. It might not be spectacular but it is alright and really seems to taste home made.

Rating:

Review Date: 2019-09-11


Cuisine: Taiwanese

Address: 39 Goldhawk Road, Shepherds Bush, London, W12 8QQ ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Goldhawk Road

Location: London (England) - Shepherd's Bush

Map:

 

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Telephone: +44 (0) 20 8746 7801

URL: http://www.ho-ja.co.uk/